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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  December 9, 2012 7:45am-9:00am EST

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>> looking for these types in bookstores this week and watch for the authors in the near future on booktv and on >> go to prize-winning historian james mcpherson presents a history of the use of naval forces by the union and confederate armies during the civil war. now on booktv. he reports on the impact that each navy made during the war, from union naval support of numerous battles, including vicksburg and new orleans to the confederates use of naval mines and the militaristic deployment of a submarine. it's a little under an hour. >> good evening, everyone. last time we met here on this very stage to talk about the civil war, jim, you are looking to finishing touches on your new
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book. you are preparing your publication as well. now i have to do this the way they do it on the talk shows. now, james mcpherson "war on the waters" and craig, the civil war at sea, very handsomely done, are both out. that's good because we get to resume our -- we barely scratched the surface. let's get right to it because we spoke for an hour last time, we got to about january 1862. so i will assume you all know about 1861, and get to something that jim pointed out. that was rather interesting. is that 150 years ago this month, besides all the other things that were going on, the
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realization that lincoln had promulgated -- [inaudible] the union had commenced -- the tennessee cumberland and mississippi rivers seems to belong to the north, not the south. and i must've seen for a time in 1862 that the combination of events, particularly the successes of the union were about to end the war between the states. and then the trend line shifts. being the father of water that lincoln was now became vexed all over again. jim talent start with you. what happened and why? >> well, the union navy was on a roll in the fall and winter of 61 and 62, in the spring of 62. and it looked like they were
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going to open up the mississippi river quickly in the summer of 1862. vicksburg was really the only confederate bastion still on the mississippi river and both the seagoing fleet under now admiral farragut came all the way up through the gulf of mexico to vicksburg. the so-called western flotilla of river gunboats, had talked his way down the mississippi capturing them on the way. they combined to mark martin vicksburg but it was clear that the city, the batteries could not be taken without support of army troops. and general halleck who was the army commander of the theater, i like to call him general can't be done, told farragut asked if
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he could spare some of his 100,000 troops to help a railroad junction, to capture vicksburg. and how it said can't be done. don't have enough troops. and the level of the river was dropping so much, the union naval forces and the army troops were there, only 3000, were all getting sick. so the union forces actually gave up the effort to capture vicksburg in the summer of 1862 because the navy would help them do. which came somewhat as a surprise to note in public because the flotilla at that time, the navy had been doing a lot of things all by itself without any army support. they've captured -- they captured of port royal bay in november 1861.
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all without any army support at all. but clearly that run of success was going to come to an end. the confederates have now figured out some ways to carry the war to the union forces itself. they built an ironclad, in arkansas. then came down all by itself to attack the union fleet and july of 1860 d. the confederates had gotten to commerce raiders in florida and alabama. they were being loose on the seas now. the union navy had captured galveston in october 1862 and confederates counterattacked on new year's day. so the momentum of the more it seemed to be reversed. and it took a while before it
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would swing back. >> craig, jim mentioned halleck's reluctance to involve himself. walk us through the development, the understanunderstan ding of the urgent need for joint domination. >> i was just going to say the broader question, there was no protocol, no understanding and very little experience in history of united states that would allow the navy and the army to work as partners on the singleton. we have to remember the of course the national security act of 1947, post-world war ii phenomenon that created the joint chiefs of staff, secretary of defense. during the civil war, in world war ii there was a secretary of war who was responsible for the army, and secretary of the navy, responsible for the navy who sat as co-equals on the cabinet table and they were members of the coalition press. they were on the same side without a doubt, but they were
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hardly partners. i became very clear early on to not only was halleck, general can't be done, jealous of his own command. he wanted to keep the forces under his own immediate control which he believed a need to capture this road a. but in addition to navy was equally jealous of partnering with the army. they didn't want to do. secretary of the navy was absolutely determined whenever possible that the navy should do things without upping the army. it was just that they couldn't do without the army. they really saw to do without the army. that was a good thing because then i got the headlines. so behind all of this difficulty that begins to emerge now, there is this sort of underpinnings of jealousy, competition, rivalry between the union army and the navy. >> who outranks who works as a captain of the navy out rank captain of the army? >> well, in that particular
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case, yes, but again taken most broader, within a couple points. one is the army had lots of generals and the navy had no admirals. the navy is going to get some. farragut will be the first, but early on in american history there was a notion that while armies were there to defend home and protect the constitution, navies were kind of instruments of employers to the royal navy that would come over and block our shores and take our sailors. so navies were to be looked at with some suspicion. and in particular, fleets of ships, we are very to come and no admirals at all. so the highest rank you'd have in the united states was navy captain. there was an honor retitle of commodore that went to whoever was senior captain, a group of captains cooperating together. but the highest rank was that of captain. and the equivalency of that was the army colonel. so in theory an army colonel and a navy captain work to equal
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positions. but that division between army and navy met they couldn't give orders to each other. i often told my students at the navy academy do you realize during the civil war the highest-ranking general in the army could not give an order to a seaman recruit? they said that's the way it ought to be. [laughter] >> that's exactly right. >> but it was a problem whenever you're trying to coordinate activity. so who was in charge? nobody is in charge. >> the commander in chief. >> the commander-in-chief is in charge but these 1000 miles away in washington. >> but it could work when the army commander and the naval commander of the particular operations cooperative with each other. that became -- commander of the western flotilla and to general u.s. grant in the winter of 1862 because they work together to
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capture fort henry, for donaldson, and the tributaries of the mississippi river. then foot was on his own for a while working with john pope, and that worked out pretty well, too. when they captured the island in april 1862. part of this sequence of union successes in the spring of 1862 which then did come to an end, so if there is informal cooperation between the two of them it works pretty well. but as they see themselves as rivals, it's not going to work. >> look at halleck and grant in 1862. halleck is worrying about grant. >> give us a sense of the state of, the evolving state in terms of shifting and as 1861 most
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1862 and sort of changes, radically in terms of enlistme enlistment. >> start with me? yeah, one of the things about the civil war, and i think it's particularly to the civil war navies, it's a tonic pivot point in history. things have been changing for some time. the telegraph comes in in the 1840s but railroads already expanding across the continent. but the application of these large-scale want to the workers, were terribly new, in land were probably arguably, the most immediate impact was the rifle, shoulder musket which dramatically extended the range of soldiers could fight. at sea, there are a number of similarly important technological changes. obviously there was steam. steam have been around for generation or more. the application of universal use of steam and warships both on
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the blockade and those attempting to run the blockades, rifled guns just as rifled muskets. rifled artillery extended the range and accuracy of the ship can it. thereby elevating the impact of warships over guns ashore. going into the civil war the general notion was 10 guns ashore will defeat 10 guns upload every time. mainly because they don't sink. but with the new rifle, ordnance and explosive shells changes the balance of the. and, of course, the one that everybody recalls is armor. ship armor. we talked last time i think about that. the famous battle. and even the emergence of the suffering. so technologically there's all this going on. but also, and you mentioned manpower, the size of the navy dramatically -- were used to --
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16,000, at sea, they community began with 42 ships. the confederacy began for practical persons -- purposes with known to both are dramatically expanding the size, and that means bringing more people in there and that has an impact on the character of manpower. the navy had always been an integrated racially integrated military force. now, the reason for that is obvious. it's hard to segregate on board issue. it's very crowded. it's hard to have an all black ship and all white ship. so that was a tradition that had always been there, but the numbers changed dramatically. that got up to as high as 15% by about 1830, and then the pressure of seven representatives in congress said they should not allow lacks to serve and united states, brought that down close to single digits, and then they dramatically jump back up again,
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i believe around 20% of all the changes were taking place. >> i might add that the confederates also were very sadly technological innovation. they made a decision, confederates made the decision early in the work that they would not be able to match the union navy in firepower and ships. ..
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>> but they did manage to sink or destroy 43 union naval warships during the course of the war. most spectacularly, i suppose, the uss tecumseh when thurgood attacked mobile bay in 1864. one of his ships was a brand new ironclad, state of the art union ironclad in 1864. the tecumseh struck one of these torpedoes, went down in 90 minutes. so, and the confederates also built or bought in britain a number of very fast, well-armed commerce-raiding ships that wrought havoc with the american merchant marine during the course of the war. i believe the number of ships that they sank or captured, american merchant ships during the course of the war, 12
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confederate congress raiders was somewhere in the neighborhood of 265, and the alabama alone sank or captured 64 american ships. so the confederates, even though they were never -- by the end of the war something like 110,000 men had served in the united states navy, the union navy. the confederates had a total of about 5,000, so they're never more than about 5% of the strength of the union navy, but they were able to accomplish an awful lot with that shoestring operation. >> can i add on to that, i think that's a very important point. it's important to remember that in the 19th century navies the world over, not just north and south, would take any able-bodied person onboard, anybody who could pull a rope and do what he was told was perfectly willing to be accepted into the ship's company.
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so that john paul jones, for example, during the american revolution had onboard a couple of americans, but also irishmen and scots and spanishmen and africans, chinese and everything, and so that was kind of the template. but it was particularly true because of of these congress raiders -- yeah. >> the officer corps would meet them, a half dozen or so, and they would convert this vessel that had been surreptitiously built in an english shipyard and then invite anybody onboard to join. some of the british men said, well, sure, how much you paying? this sounds pretty good. a lot of them said, no, so they would just scrounge and get whoever they could. so of these 5,000, a lot of them had nebraska been in the con fed -- never been in the confederacy. so it was even smaller that. yeah. >> and both of you have written in your books something, i confess, i hadn't thought about which is that as much as we know
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that the army, particularly the union army had a foreign accept in many regiments, there were irish-americans and many others onboard ships as well. so it was the same kind of balance. we'll do more on african-americans in a second, because there's a particular story that both of you tell that i'd like to go to. but i'd like to go from the manpower, the enlisted personnel, to the people in charge for a moment. and this is something that i find fascinating and sort of unresolvable. we know that lincoln famously said i know but little about ships. we know that jefferson davis was a west point man who trialedded himself on his cavalry -- prided himself on his calvary experience and military knowledge. rate each of them quickly -- two points -- rate each of them as the commander in chief of the navy, what they knew in april of 1861 and how they ended up it.
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what was their experience, what was their accomplishment, what was of their failure in this front? >> well, i would say that both of them were successful in the sense that they left their secretaries of the navy to run the navies. -- alone to run the navies. and both secretaries of the navy were really quite effective even though neither one of them had significant prior experience in running a navy. >> i know welds was a newspaperman, what was mallory? >> well, mallory was a lawyer. he was from florida. he had been a lawyer for salvage companies in key west that went out and salvaged the wrecks, many of them. >> there you go. >> he was chairman of the senate naval committee in the 1850s, so he did have some prior experience. but i think it was due primarily to mallory that the confederates chose this option of technological innovation. but i think lincoln and davis both had the good sense to
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recognize the ability of their navy departments and to let the secretaries run it. lincoln didn't have to spend anywhere near the amount of time dealerring with the -- dealing with the navy that he did with the army because the squeaky wheel gets the grease. and in the case of the union, it was the army that was the squeaky wheel. the navy was well-oiled and efficient from the very beginning. lincoln also had the good sense to recognize, his name was fox, as a can-do. fox became assistant secretary of the navy, and although he was one of these people who didn't want the army to get any of the credit for what the navy and, you know, don't let the army ruin it, he said, don't let the army spoil it, we want to take charleston home by ourselves which, of course, they never did, but fox was a go-getting kind of guy, and lincoln recognized that. he became the equivalent of what
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we would call the chief of naval operations today. and lincoln actually twisted some, pulled some strings and twisted some wires to get fox appointed to that position which hadn't existed before in the united states government, assistance secretary of the navy. >> there had been something called a chief clerk for years, but the idea of having an assistant secretary, what would be the point of that? there's nothing for him to do. and the job of chief clerk had already been promised elsewhere, and lincoln was told, but we can't -- >> but o do you assessment of naval commanders in chief. >> i believe both secretaries of the navy were very competent, and i would disagree they had little experience. i think being a salvage lawyer in key west and chairman of the naval committee was a lot of experience for mallory, and gideon welles had a lot of experience, the navy at the time
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was administered by a series of bureaus, steam engineering and so forth. and he was the bureau of clothing and provisions. which means he was the logistics guy for the navy. he was the only civilian to have that guy. everybody else was a navy captain. it would be like having somebody on the joint chiefs of staff who was in a civilian suit. so he really did have some experience with that. now, there was a tendency on the parts of the officers to down play that. samuel francis dupont was probably the most scathing. yes, i heard about our new secretary. there's a rumor that he once made an extraordinary contract for cheese, as if this was all he could possibly do. [laughter] but i think that experience did allow him to be as effective -- >> so a good choice by lincoln? >> good appointment. >> he needed a demand man -- >> he needed a new england man, and wells didn't know he was going to be the navy secretary. he had been a newspaperman, as
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you said, and he thought he was going to be postmaster general. no, no, no, navy department. okay, fine. [laughter] now, back to your original question. i think in general lincoln had a greater ability to adjust to changing circumstances. he was a more creative person, i think jim's absolutely right in that he could recognize people of talent and make sure that they got into positions where they could make a contribution. he didn't interfere as much with the navy as he did with the army, but he did have favorites within the navy leadership. >> dalton, yes. >> dalton was his particular favorite. jefferson davis, i think, was more in a rut. protocol existed, and the protocol must be followed, and constitutional requirements suggest i must do it this way. and he knew that he could win or lose the war in land on a day. that was not true about lincoln. so he did really let stephen mallory do it. i'll say one last thing about mallory. if there's a create similar of him -- and maybe it's not, maybe it's a positive thing -- mallory
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was determined to lay the groundwork for a permanent confederate states navy. so he did things during the war not to achieve immediate objective, what do we need to do today and next week, but how can i lay the groundwork, the foundation of a naval infrastructure for the next 50 years? like a naval academy, for example, which he founded and which probably was not necessary. >> well, from reading both of your books, i mean, what i've learned, i think, on this subject is that davis was sort of surprisingly -- whether through channels, whether through mallory or not -- was surprisingly free-wheeling about green lighting technology, innovation. he got to production of ships in a remarkably quick time. when you say that he went from 0 to 50 in a very short time -- >> i would say for him he didn't get in the way, and good for him for not -- >> not a bad thing. and lincoln sort of liked it. as seasick as he got whenever he
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got on a paddle wheel ship, he liked the ordinance, he liked the innovations, and, boy, he lucked out the day he said i think there was something in it when he was shown the design of the -- [inaudible] but i want to go beyond that because we have spent time in our time here at the historical society talking about that epic battle, that epic duel 150 years ago. but matthew fontaine famously said it was the end of the wooden navy, and the wooden walls would fall after that. and then the guy that both of you write so much about in your books, and i think you both like him a lot, that's david fair gut. not young, not particularly glamorous. not a technocrat. he sort of brings back the glamour of the wooden ship. in his, in his adventures. tell me what impresses you most
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about farah gut, and then each of you has to tell me whether he said it or he didn't say it. [laughter] craig, you start this. >> are well, the thing about far gut, i'll start with the whole question of 1861 was that officers and enlisted men had to decide where their loyalty lay, whether the state or the national government. one clear difference between the army and the navy, and i'll take the opportunity here the to give a little poke at the army for this, is that within the army most officers went with their states. most people are aware of that famous internal debate that rocket e. lee -- robert e. lee supposedly had, boot steps echoing on the stairs as he thought all night about what he should do. navy, not so much. southern-born naval officers, more than half, actually stayed with the national governor even
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though they were southern-born. now, you could say this was because, obviously, through the naval academy they understand more about loyalty than they do at west point -- [laughter] >> most of these guys didn't go to the naval academy. [laughter] >> naval academy created in 1845, so the senior officers had come up the old-fashioned way, midshipmen on up learning on the job. but a cynic would also say, you know, the confederacy doesn't have any ships. so maybe my opportunities are greater -- whatever the reason might be. but fair gut was one of those guys that was, of course, southern-born, southern-raised, born in tennessee, raised mostly in new orleans, lived in virginia, was married to a woman named virginia who was from virginia. and yet when b news came that virginia had, in fact, passed an ordnance of succession and left the union, he came home and announced to his wife i will not spend one night in a state that
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is so dishonorable as to leave this great nation. i'm leaving immediately for new york. come with me or not. >> so loyalty -- did he say damn the torpedoes? >> did he say damn the -- well, i'm looking -- [laughter] my wife has heard me say this before. the words that i used in the book seem to to me to be the liy ones, that he was actually speaking to the captain of the ship right alongside four bells, captain -- [inaudible] full speed ahead and so on. so it wasn't quite what has come down in history, but the sense of it was pretty much that. and, of course, the question i always and -- ask my students is if he might have said, damn, the torpedoes! [laughter] we may never know. >> as i quote in the book, there was a marine standing near farragut on the hartford when
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the tecumseh went down and the brooklyn, which was just ahead of the hartford in the line of ships, stopped at the line of torpedoes, and the whole fleet came to a stop at fort morgan who were punishing them. and that's when farragut orderlied the hartford to go ahead of the brooklyn, and the rest of the ships followed, and they got through. a marine standing near him said he didn't hear any such thing, but i've always thought the important thing was not what he said, but what he did. whether he said damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead or not, he did it. you were asking about farragut's -- the qualities of some of these people, and especially farragut. i think lincoln could have said about farragut as he allegedly said about grant, i can't spare this man, he fights.
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farragut was the most fighting admiral in the united states navy during the civil war. and he proved it other and over again. but i think most notably in the run-up to the attack on the -- [inaudible] in new orleans in april of 1862. most of his captains, the ship captains in his fleet didn't want to make that attempt. he actually called a council of war with his captains on april 22nd, two nights before they went. and most of them said, too risky. the mortars haven't knocked out the guns in the forts yet. we're gonna be sunk when we try to pass these forts. and farragut said, we're gonna go. and he also said i believe in so lairty. now, if lincoln had had more commanders that believed in sharety, that war would have
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been won in 1862. and farragut did this over and over again. he passed fort hudson in 1863. five of his ships didn't get by, one of them was sunk, but the two that did get by -- including the hartford, his own ship, his flagship -- were able to interdict confederate shipments on the mississippi river between port hudson and vicksburg, and that plays an essential role in the campaign against vicksburg and then, of course, famously he damned the to torpedoes on apri- august 5,1864. so that's the quality that i think was most outstanding. >> loyalty, courage -- >> and one more, if i may. i don't tell the story, but i tell it in my lincoln book because there was a point in 863 when farragut brought the hartford back to new york, and
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lincoln was very concerned about competition particularly from george mccell land, and he was uncertain, too, how these other generals including admirals might react. and on this big rally, farragut was sort of pushed up on the stage. i will do my job on the water, i have no political interest, left the stage. and i think that characteristic was valuable to lincoln as well. >> seems we're back to loyalty. >> back to loyalty. >> farragut was the grant of the navy. >> yeah. i was going to ask if anybody would ascribe that to him. but what astounds me -- probably because i'm afraid of ships -- [laughter] some of you here are, i mean, jeb stuart was not 30, this guy was in his 60s. that's a tough service, and yet he managed a dazzling one. it gives us all hope.
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[laughter] i'm going to ask a few more questions, and but if you have questions, i think this would be a good time to line up, and when i see a few of you mined p -- lined up, i will turn to you. but you both mentioned african-americans in service, and you both mentioned the union fixation on recapturing charleston which was so symbolically important and yet such a difficult harbor to get at because it was surrounded by forts. but i want you to talk, both of you if you would, about robert small. it's a story that's not told too often. both of you tell it. this is a man who comes into view one day on a ship called the planter -- >> yeah. >> an african-american. tell me what that story was. >> well, a little context first, if i may. one, the union established its blockade along the south
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atlantic coast. enslaved americans recognized that this was potential salvation, and can thousands of them came down to the coastline or the rivers when union gunboats ventured up the rivers, sort of flagged them down, asked to be taken onboard, asked to be protected and so forth. so one of the things the union navy did was erect a series of camps on those offshore islands, the most famous led to the creation of some of the earliest black schools in the south, on hilton head and so forth. but it wasn't unusual that african-americans would come down to the coast and ask to be taken off, and that's one of the reasons why the number of backs serving in the navy increased. but what happened off charleston was something altogether different. there was a small boat used by the confederates there to bring supplies, information and messages back and forth among the various ports in charleston -- forts in charleston. fort sumter, fort johnson, castle pinckney and the battery,
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and this small boat -- called the planter -- would navigate among them. and, of course, at night the white officers in charge would go home and sleep in their beds and leave it in charge of the black crew that ran it. and the fellow who was in charge of that black crew was robert smalls. and he watched this behavior and activity, and he memorized the signals that he saw being given pack and forth between the ports and told his crew what they were going to do, bring your families onboard, and one dark night about 2:30, 3:00 in the morning he got up steam onboard and went chugging out of the harbor, gave the recognition signal, they said, all right, carry on, and off he went out to the union fleet. so here comes this confederate ship which they recognized, of course, as the planter coming out to the squadron. everybody beat to quarters, what's going on? it's flying a big white flag. but it was, of course, robert smalls bringing the ship, the crew and their families to freedom from his point of view -- >> also four guns.
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>> and four guns, oh, by the way. that's right. and he proved to be, also, a valuable source of information. one of the things that the african-americans came down to the coast and volunteered for service could bring was the ability to pilot many of those rivers, to bring information about what was going on ashore. they were kind of the secret spy ring of the union navy. >> yeah. smalls became a pilot for the union navy and so did a number of the other slaves who had escaped from charleston just a few days before smalls came out, 15 they were called contrabands. >> right. >> slaves who decided they wanted to make their way to freedom had appropriated the barge of general roswell ripley and rode it out to the union fleet, and all 15 of these guys were knowledgeable about the waterways around charleston, and they became valuable to the union fleet. i argue in my book that the navy really deserves in some ways
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more credit than the army for taking the first steps toward achieving freedom for slaves in the civil war. the navy in the early months of the war penetrated far more deeply into upon the fed candidate -- con fed candidate territory along the south atlantic coast and the mississippi river and the tennessee river and the bum cumberland river far more than the army did. we often talk about the union army being an army of liberation, and eventually it became an army of liberation. and we talk about the slaves recognizing the union army as an army of liberation long before that army itself did and coming into union lines. but, in fact, in the early part of the war i think more slaves were coming to these ships. >> good point. >> that were operating in the tide waters or estuaries of the south atlantic cote and the gulf
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coast and, of course, the rivers of the west. when dupont's fleet captured the port royal bay and then spread out to capture all of the south carolina, georgia and florida sea islands and capture a number of other ports there, brunswick, fernadina, st. augustine and so on, that liberated tens of thousands of slaves. it wasn't the army that did it. >> it's a really good point to make as we are literally at the sesquicentennial of the preliminary e emancipation probm proclamation, plus a couple of weeks, and i can't help just noting that here in new york we're proud that new york state was smart enough to request, preserve the preliminary emancipation proclamation in lincoln's hand and send it this year on a statewide tour as well. chicago didn't do quite as well
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with the final emancipation proclamation, but i guess they couldn't help it because of that fire. but he did very well saving ours. actually, the emancipation prolo mission -- proclamation was in a fire of its own, rescued from the new york state capital fire of 1911 which occurred only a few days after the triangle shirt days fire, so no one paid attention to it. but it might have perished. it's safe and secure, new york's legislature for whom we raise few cheers -- [laughter] did its job in 1865. tell us who you are, and tell us your questions. >> i'm mark, i'm a writer and a game designer. there's also some gold braid south of the may son dixon. either one of you, each of you take admirable buchanan, and the other maybe james montgomery, the captain of the confederate navy on the mississippi who, first, the fleet to defend new orleans, then the fleet to
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defend memphis. of course, he was batting 0 for 2. if you guyses would talk maybe a little bit about the senior command of the confederate navy? >> well, he did a biography of buchanan, so i yield -- >> okay. i'll talk about old buck. buchanan was an old sea dog. here's a guy who had joined the navy during the war of 1812. that was not unusual. he was still a teenager, he was 17, 18 years old. that was pretty much typical. you would join as a teenager and learn on the job. so he'd been a naval officer for almost half a century by the time the civil war broke out, and we were talking about loyalty before. here's a border state individual, he was born in baltimore, actually, but he grew up in pennsylvania, so which is clearly a northern state. his wife was from the eastern shore of maryland which is a very pro-southern, slave-oriented economic culture out there, so he really did
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straddle the two sides, and he was conflicted about what to do if terms of his loyalty. when in april 19, 1861, there was this riot in the streets of baltimore and blood was shed, he assumed maryland was going to secede, and so he said, that's it, i'm going with my state and submitted his resignation. now, of course, maryland did not secede, and now he's a little sheepish. goes back and says i've changed my mind, because, after all, this is one of the senior b men in the entire navy. and they said, look, if you didn't stay by us in our time of trial, we don't want you. you're kicked out. well, now he's infuriated, and he went south, offered his services to the confederacy, and he became the commander of the css virginia/may mack where he's wounded, and it takes him a year and a half to recover. and then when he finally does, he's sent down to mobile and
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build another ironclad, which he does, becomes the css tennessee, and he's the guy farragut was going after when he did or did not say damn the torpedoes. >> is that the ironclad that's in the painting? >> no, no. that's from hampton roads. [inaudible conversations] >> that's the tennessee in the painting of -- >> yeah. >> when you buy this book, and you all should -- [laughter] you'll see this dark form here on the side. here's the css tennessee -- buchanan's inside that, right? and, in fact, onboard the hartford is it percival drayington? he recognized buchanan, well, what are the chances of that? and he got so infuriated, he threw his binoculars at him. >> that's what we see right here. >> okay. >> so buchanan was an old sea dog who happened to be in the right place at the right time for two of the most noteworthy, particularly ironclad confrontations in the navy.
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but he was, in my mind, a kind of throwback. as i say, he was conflicted about loyalty, but he was not conflicted about the rules of the sea, and his idea buzz sew lairty. he wanted to go straight at 'em, take 'em on, may the best man win. but he survived the war, became president of the university of maryland. so he's the only person ever to be both superintendent of the naval academy of which he was first and president of the university of maryland. died in old age on maryland's eastern shore, and now you don't have to buy the book. [laughter] >> yes, sir. >> hello -- >> he wanted to know about montgomery. >> oh, i'm sorry. >> well, i'll be very brief about that. montgomery built up what was called the river defense fleet. basically, they were converted river steam boats commanded by, basically, steamboat captains and civilian volunteer crews. they were responsible for helping forts phillip and
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st. phillip and jackson stop farragut's fleet, but neither the forts' nor the confederates' fleet stopped the seven out of the eight ships in that fleet were sunk by the union navy as it moved up past the forts and captured new orleans. ..
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>> there's no time to go into that. what happened in memphis june 6, 1862 is seven out of the eight confederate ships were sunk or captured in that conflict. so montgomery, as you said, was overdue in his defense of the mississippi river from two different union fleets. >> my name is mark. i'm a member of the society here. i'd like to ask you a question about something i was recently curious about, and that's the relationship between captain foote and ulysses grant in connection with the battles at fort henry and fort donaldson. grants victories they're really kickstart his career. there's no two ways about it. which was a pretty important than in his career, and military history of the united states. but when grant went to propose his idea to halleck, halleck
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practically threw him out of the office. he really belittled him and told him his job was to take orders and not to plan strategy, threw him out. from what i've read grant was able to turn this around because he did that with foote and persuaded transport of his ideas and then foote wrote a letter to halleck supporting this. which seemed to me that foote was sticking his neck out since as you pointed out, there was a lot of hostility to joint operations and i would've thought he was sidestepping military protocol by -- >> let's hear how our guests regarded his contributions. go ahead spend i'll say a few things about foote and let the gm taken a. foote was a very senior, he's like very good, someone has been around for a long, long time. and he had difficulty cooperating with the army in the west. it's largely because of foote that navy creates this sort of
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hermaphrodite title of black office. flag officers is both a is both billick and major general. you're not really an apple. you're not a general but we'll call you a flag officer. you are like to store so you can have a conversation with his two star general on relatively even terms. so that gave him a bit of leverage in dealing with people like halleck but it's also true that foote recognized that synergy, that is, the idea that the army and the navy working together rather than simply side-by-side would create a greater force. so i think you are right and crediting foot with a lot of the opportunity that allowed granted to carry out this program that he had sought and for which he had been rejected by general spent certainly blaming halleck for the lack of sympathy or appreciation from grant -- >> something we haven't mentioned yet but i think is relevant is at that time in the
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winter and spring of 1862, the river navy, the river union navy was under the war department. the initial idea here was that operations in the interior of the country should be under the army. and that grated somewhat awkward and sometimes confusing situation. and i think that probably the greatest credit that should go to foote his his ability to navigate this very awkward situation and to work with grant and work with quartermaster general montgomery meigs who was in charge of actually constructing the ships for the river navy. but foote was the man on the front lines out there. managing the construction of these seven -- six so-called turtles. they were ironclad river gunboat, shallow draft.
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they drew only six feet of water. that were in some ways the most innovative naval weapon in the western theater, in the first year or so of the war. and you've got this situation where the navy, the river navy is really a branch of the army. that was later changed in the summer of 1862, congress actually brought entirely under the navy department. without foote i don't think that would've gotten off -- this is the wrong expression. this would have gotten off the ground. [laughter] >> he navigated. yes, sir? >> my name is lee or i served as an officer aboard the dd for several years during the war. they were five blocks of courtship. all were mess boys. him and now you realize i learned -- knew very little
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about the blacks serving in the navy. what happened to them after the civil war? because it seems when you talk about the early history they were integrated aboard ship. served in all capacities. so could you give us a quick rundown speak with you mean, what happened -- >> to their ability to serve. how did the navy use them until recent times when blacks -- >> this is one of the great tragedies of the civil war. of course, there are many. we tend to think of tragic in terms of loss of life but to me the greatest tragedy is this loss of life, much of it was had in vain because during the third of reconstruction and the reestablishment of jim crow, the establishment of jim crow is, the navy, among and within a the rest of american society became subject of that as well. so in the late 19th century the idea of we will take anybody who can pull rope, and the crews of the united states navy ships,
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navy much, much smaller now by the 1880s, were white. and then it became a statutory that blacks could only service mess boys, later applied to filipinos as well. after the spanish american war. and that was just come if you have seen one of the great world war ii movies, the caine mutiny, you see how the mess boys as they're called in the film are all african-american. the crew and officers are all white, and that was the standard in the united states navy until really through world war ii. >> that's an excellent -- yes. spent my name is john. i know all these fellows. >> hi, john. >> question. how did apple stands move command of the alabama fit into the organization of the confederate navy? >> i will start in greg -- kraken pick up the he was an
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officer. he was in alabama. he did come as craig said, half or so of the southern officers of the united states navy wind with their states, and he certainly did not. he became commander of a ship in new orleans which had been, x. appropriate i guess you would say by the confederacy. and it escaped through the blockade in june of 1861, very early in the war, and became the first confederate commerce raider. and he gained experience as a commerce raider with the sumter until it finally more or less broke down and was bottled up. and then he went across by train to europe, and took command of the css alabama in the summer of
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1862. got it out through all kinds of hocus-pocus, and pulling the wool over the eyes of the british and so on and so forth. some of them wanted the wool pulled over their eyes so the ship could escape, and then commanded it for the next two years on the high seas. as i said earlier, it captured or destroyed 64 american merchant ships, intel ran up against the uss kearsarge outside cherbourg harbor june 1864 and was sunk. >> just one thing, because we're out of time wrote it i did want to say one thing which is always interested me. to think. one is that when the alabama confronts the kearsarge and the kearsarge prevails, talk about, you said earlier, these guys are sticklers for process and for what they learned enough from
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figures. he says the kearsarge was an iron clad, it was unfair. is because of the chain mail that the kearsarge had over its deck to enter which was more time to discuss this particular occasion. we would have to go, because, because am going to get the first word and the last word, because i believe that that action had almost as much to do with lincoln's reelection as the atlantic campaign that i found evidence of dollars from as far away as california that had pictures of the alabama sinking with its bow up. i think is a powerful image and a powerful morale booster. i wanted to end by reading two things that these terrific historians have written in their books. no doubt without consulting each other. kraken writes, in the civil war i see, naval forces did not determine the outcome of the civil war. the north would have won the war even without naval supremacy.
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but naval forces affected its trajectory and very likely its length, and that in the end was important enough. jim mcpherson goes a little bit further, i think, in "war on the waters," and i quote, to say that the union army, the union navy won the civil war would state the case much too strongly. but it is accurate to say that the war could not have been one without the contributions of the navy. we will let you to fight it out on some future arena, but i will end officially by pointing out something we heard all about these problems that naval officers had with each other. the army, these two gentlemen are such great colleagues to me into each other. jim mcpherson calls craig simons the civil simons the civil war at sea in his official appraisal, and outstanding study of the union and confederate
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navies. and and craig simons calls jim mcpherson's "war on the waters" an important story written with an eloquent and. so we have a quandary in these tough economic times. [laughter] a solomonic choice to be made, how to do it. i found the perfect quote with which to really and. the editor of the magazine north and south has just written a joint operations review of your two books. and he says, which one of the books would i choose? suspense, suspense. i wouldn't. no student of the civil war should miss either one. and i second the motion. [applause] >> thank you. >> you're watching c-span2 with politics and public affairs weekly feature live coverage of the u.s. senate. on weeknights watch the public
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policy defense, and to weaken the latest nonfiction authors and books on booktv. you can see past programs and get our schedules at our websites, and you can join in the conversation on social media sites. >> here's some of the top selling nonfiction titles that independent bookstores around the country.
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you can find more by going to in the and clicking on in the rest of sellers. >> tranelevetraneleve n is the name of the book. george mason university professor john turner is the author. we are here on location at george mason university. professor turner, who was
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brigham young? >> most simply he was the second president of the church of jesus christ of latter day saints, the successor to joseph smith. is also the first governor of the utah territory, and the man who led the mormons across the country over the mountains to their new home in the west. >> how did he become more well-known today and joseph smith is? >> he lived a lot longer, that helped. he led the church for over 30 years. joseph smith let the church for about 14 years, until he was murdered in 1844. brigham young takes over. he settles and colonizes what's today utah, naturally a larger portion of the american west. and he becomes a major in long-term opponent of the u.s. government. and that gets him all a lot of notoriety in the 19 century as well. >> so, where did brigham young come from? where did he began?
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>> he grew up in basically upstate new york, western new york. he came from a very poor family. he didn't get, didn't have any formal education. he was impoverished, really hard scrabble childhood. his family moved around a lot. once he was on his own he moved around a lot. he was a craftsman, kind of a furniture maker and painter. never got ahead, and then his wife entirely changed. once he converted to mormonism when he was a little bit more than 30 years old. >> how did that happen? how did he meet joseph smith, et cetera? >> he first met the book of mormons. missionaries brought it shortly after is published in 1830, some of his family members read it. he later said he read it and he it and he spent a long time thinking about it. he didn't jump on board right away. he was a little bit skeptical, a little uncertain, and he spent a couple years considering the claims of this new bible, this new work of scripture.
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then he encountered a group of traveling mormon elders, or missionaries, and he saw them speak in tongues. something he hadn't encountered i think to the point in his life, and he took that as a clear sign of god's power, that god's power was with this new church. shortly after that, he is baptized, becomes a member of joseph smith's church. and after that two-year period of hesitation, once he decides to join and gets baptized, he is fully committed for the rest of his life. he gives his life great sense of purpose and direction, and that's his identity for the rest of his life. >> where did the term mormon come from? >> ancient record, a variety of people say it comes to the new world, and that jesus christ had appeared to these people in the new world, that their descendents were the native
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americans, that white americans knew well, in the early 1800s. so that's where the term came from. joseph smith's earlier, early followers have been called mormon knights or mormons as a pejorative term. essentially they get used to it, and cleaned it as their own identity. >> why did joseph smith and his followers lead upstate new york? leave new york and travel? where did they go next? >> well, the first 15 years or so the church is in existence is a star of the mormons more or less getting kicked out of one place after another. joseph smith taught his followers to gather together to form cities. usually one at a time. and so after they left new york, they gathered in northeastern ohio. eventually there was a lot of anti-mormon pressure, and the
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church also had a lot of convention event to ms. richard a similar thing happened there. they moved to illinois. when you have 15,000 or so mormons gathered in this one county of western illinois, everybody else is terrified. and so there are a lot of political pressures but there's also a lot of dissension within the church from practices and doctrines that joseph smith is introducing. he is murdered in 1844 by an anti-mormon mob. >> in illinois? >> in illinois. he's arrested, in jail. a mob stormed into the jail, shoots and kills joseph smith and his brother. joseph smith falls out of the jail window and he is dead. brigham young is essentially their to pick up the pieces. spent where it is joseph smith buried? >> he is buried in illinois.
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>> so brigham young takes over essentially in illinois? >> he takes over in illinois. >> and how does he get to utah's? >> once again, the mormons are forced out. the death of joseph smith doesn't satisfy the political opponent of the church in illinois. then about another year there are mobs that are burning them out. under duress, brigham young contemplates the we fight back, do we try to fight these mobs, but insultingly they got to go spent at that point john turner, had the mormon population become integrated at all into the illinois like? >> not really. the church had gathered there for about five years, and were predominate in this one part of western illinois. budget had been a pretty transitory existence for a lot of people. and so when they leave, brigham young leads them west, across
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the iowa territory, and spends time on the banks of the missouri river, and then in 1847 brigham young leads a group of little bit more than, about 150 pioneers that go over the mountains. >> what happens when they come over the mountains? >> well, brigham young actually was incredibly -- he didn't end up being among the first group that made it past the valley. the traditional story is that reagan looks down on the valley, that this is the place. that's where the mormons are going to so do i actually did find, he said this is the place, but i think maybe not until they got down into the valley and they were thinking but exactly where they should settle. we don't need to go further, we don't need to go on to the west coast, california. >> did the city where salt lake
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is now exist at all? >> not at all. there were a couple of white mountaineers basically in that region, and other than that there were a variety of native tribes. exactly where the latter day saints first settled was actually fairly unpopular. there were more indians to the south, exactly where they first went. >> so that's an ak-47? wended brigham young died? >> he died in 1877. >> so 30 years, walk us through. >> sure. first, there's a question of, well, do we govern ourselves or do we attempt to become a territory or state within the united states. i think after being expelled from illinois, the mormons and brigham young were pretty wary of the united states. the u.s. government had not
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protect them or their land. so they feel like they had been forced into a situation in which they pretty much on independent people. and in 1849, they create the state does a read, that's what they first call their new state, their new home.? it's from a word in the book of mormon that means honeybee. idea being industrious and cooperative people. utah today is making the beehive state. and i think brigham young hoped that their expense could be like that of california. form a state government and then be led into the union as an equal sovereign state. u.s. government -- the mormons ask for a huge swath of territory. u.s. government doesn't want to give them that much land, doesn't like their work. doesn't want to let a mormon
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controlled state into the union and so it said the territory of utah is created. the u.s. government, president gore doesn't like brigham young. >> how long did brigham young serve as governor? >> he served six years as governor spent was the head of the church of the same time? >> absolutely. >> was there political infighting within the mormon church, brigham young, did he have rival? >> not really. he saw to it that he did not have any significant rivals within the church, especially after they get to utah. there are other people who put themselves forward as possible leaders after joseph smith's death, but by the time to brigham young's faction of the church reaches utah, he has eliminated most of the distant. in fact, he brags that the church does not experience 10%
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of the dissent under his leadership as it had under joseph smith. that he was with a much firmer hand. >> how many wives did he have? >> only 55. >> how many children's? >> fifty-eight, by my count. >> does he still have descendents of? >> he has tens of thousands. if they would all buy the book i would be very wealthy. >> were you able to talk with any of his descendents in researching this? >> i didn't set out to talk to any of his descendents but there are quite a lot of reagan young descendents living in utah, and i spent a lot of time in utah researching a book that's what happened to meet some of his descendents. >> did the church cooperate in opening up their archives speakers the church cooperator a great deal to i think, i came along at a good time. but the church get access to the entirety of the brigham young
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papers, which really with philip a pretty good chunk of our library at george mason. a massive amount of papers including a lot of information about brigham young's marriages, conflicts with other figures in the church. i got to see over all, perhaps 90% of what i wanted. >> john turner, why you? why did you get that access? are you mormon? >> i'm not mormon spent and why are you writing this book? >> at october in part because i wanted to learn more about mormonism. i am basically a student of history of religion in the united states. if that's what your interest income it's hard not to get somewhat interest in the latter day saints but it's such a colorful and dramatic story. profit, persecution, polygamy. i got into the project in a way of learning more about mormonism as the church and as a religion. and also because brigham young is such a figure of broader significance in the 19th
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century america spent of course the most famous american today in america is mitt romney. does the romney family of interaction with brigham young clammed? >> i'm sure there are many romney descendents and brigham young descendents that know each other. you know, the church, even though it's much bigger still early tightknit institution, and especially in utah. it means a lot if you have ancestors that go way back to the pioneer era of the church. and, obviously, the young's do spit and the romney's to as well. why did the romney family, end up in mexico? >> they ended up in mexico because i believe mitt romney's great-grandfather practiced plural marriage. was a polygamist. and in the later part of the 1800s, especially in the 1880s, the u.s. government mandate a pretty serious effort to round up, arrest, prosecute and incarcerate mormon men who
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practice polygamy. and a number of mormon men went to mexico to escape prosecution. and i'm not expert on the romney family history, but i believe mitt romney's great-grandfather was among them. >> but they waded into brigham young had died before the outlawed polygamists? >> it was outlawed -- it was polygamy, essentially made it a federal crime in 1862, but the u.s. government doesn't have the wherewithal to prosecute it until around 1880. that happens after brigham young's death. >> so, after researching this book, professor turner, give us two or three impressions of brigham young. >> dark sense of humor. intense dedication andd@ commitment and industry. and a very heartfelt devotion to joseph smith. it was very sincere and
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authentic part of his personality. >> john turner, professor at george mason university. we are talking about "brigham young: pioneer prophet." thanks for being with us on booktv. >> my pleasure, thanks. >> tell us what you think about our program this weekend. you can tweet us at the booktv, comment on her facebook wall, or send us an e-mail. booktv, nonfiction books every weekend on c-span2. >> i am pleased to announce this month at the city of albany has the honor of hosting the time warner cable c-span local content vehicles cities to it. this program travels the country to capital cities that featured the history and literary life of these communities. albany was chosen because we are a city rich in history and in is resting local their community.


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